Monday, July 10, 2006


Hello, well, very few links today because my stupid mouse won't right-click any more.

However I did come across this, which I will laboriously type out by hand because it is important: the full transcript of the Tanweer video

And it is fair to say that is horrible stuff. Please. Don't read it if you think it will upset you; it upset the hell out of me. Which I suppose was its point.

I did get to see as much of the video as ITN had at the time when I went in last week to comment on the thing for ITN Evening News. I wanted to see it. Well, I didn't want to see it, but you know what I mean. The part of me that is grimly hyper-aware of this, that still tries to understand the incomprehensible (because how the hell else are we going to get through this unless we can attempt to understand and engage?) wanted to see it. The part of me that thinks like a journalist, a writer, someone who wants to know the truth, wanted to see it. The part of me that was almost murdered by these creeps wanted to cry and hide.

So I watched it, flinching. But dry-eyed, and calm.

Most of it was in Arabic, after watching it on a loop you could discern his words under the excited commentary. There was a vile Al-Jazeera visual of a train going into a tunnel and being completely engulfed in flames, like an inferno ( that didn't happen). Tanweer was referred to in the caption as 'The Martyr Shehzad Tanweer' ( that was how the tape was edited, not a caption put on by Al Jazeera, I'm sure of it) .

The video purported to show men rejoicing at the London explosions, firing machine guns into the air, capering about in what looked like a mountainous hot country. There was someone exploding a device via lighting a fuse and detonating something underground. The inference was clear: here is our camp full of happy would-be ''martyrs'', locked and loaded and ready for war. Suck it up, infidels.

A martyr by the way is someone who is killed for his or her religious beliefs, not someone who murders innocents and commits suicide. They're murderers. Murdering innocents, and suicide are condemned in the Qu'ran, as they are in every Holy book.

The other links I wanted to post were about how it appears that hard-core US gang members have joined the US army and are staking out their territories, sending kit home to their homies, and generally unleashing a whole can of criminal whoop-ass all over the traumatised Iraqi civilians. Gang tags and tattoos have started appearing with disturbing frequency, but are tolerated because the number of men who want to go and fight in a country that is dangerously close to civil war, (if not already there), is very low. Perhaps that explains Fallujah, the rape and murder of a teenaged Iraqi girl and the massacre of her family. Perhaps. What the hell will happen when they all get home again to the US, tooled up and trained to kill, staking out their turf in US cities, I dread to think. You sow the wind, you reap the whirlwind.

An email from a far-right group praising the rapist as one of the ''good men'' who would be '''needed when the struggle to preserve the white race comes has started circulating the internet. Hat-tip Mark From Ireland ( more laborious typing, so no more links, though I have many. I will get a new mouse asap) .

So I look, and I read the news, this last week, and what do I see?

Blank-eyed young men, ranting, swaggering, in love with themselves and their self-image as 'righteous soldiers'. Inflicting misery, rape and murder. Common bloody criminals, not heroes.

What is this sickness infecting our young men? I've been at the sharp end of it twice. I feel old and sad again today.

''I would that there were no age between sixteen and three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out the rest; for there is nothing in the between but getting wenches with child, wronging the ancientry, stealing, fighting...'' 'SHEPHERD,' SHAKESPEARE'S ' A WINTER'S TALE ' ACT 3, SCENE 3.

Against this sadness, I'm thinking of all the young men who despise this ego-driven nihilstic violence. The man in his twenties who ran into the tunnel and tore off his clothes to stem the bleeding of the desperately wounded. The man who left the train to get help, unsure of what he was walking into. The young police officer who comforted the shocked. The thousands and thousands of decent, compassionate young men. Who love life, who care for their loved ones and strangers, who are brave and compassionate and honourable. Men like J. Men like my brother. Ordinary men, who hate this sick shit on the news. I need to hold onto that, because there are times when I am deeply frightened. I know why, if you know my back-story there's a reason for it. But I struggle to understand what makes people get off on this casual destruction, this strutting, selfish posturing, thoughtless, sadistic viciousness.

I can shoot. I'm quite a good shot. But I have never wanted to shoot someone in the face, or to laugh as I jabbed her with my weapon, or to fire a shot in pride or anger. I try, but I can't get there, to that place of semi-madness. I can't make the leap. I don't want to try any more. It's too horrific, to travel into places I can't, and don't, ever want to go.

I will go and stroke Miff the cat instead, and take a deep breath, and know that this, too, will pass.

On a lighter note, this blog is now being translated into Japanese and appearing on a Japanese website every day. So, hello to all my new Japanese readers. And thank you for taking an interest in the somewhat gloomy thoughts of a woman in North London on a rainy Monday evening.


Blogger snooo said...

hey, just to let you know, your first link doesn't seem to work...

July 10, 2006 11:10 pm  
Blogger Jo said...

"It's too horrific, to travel into places I can't, and don't, ever want to go."

Take care when watching the videoes, reading the transcipts hon. I know you feel you have to 'know' more of the why, if you can...but pressing the bruise won't help things heal. Do try and give yourself a little space from it all too eh?

I'm not sure there is any value in watching that guy's video actually. I personally don't buy the media's complacent assertion that "if it exists they have a duty to report/show it" etc (this has been totally debunked by the sophisticated propaganda machine of al Queda - when the creation of the message becomes the message and the message becomes the weapon.) It carries no valuable information. It simply exists to create fear, with a complicit and naive media acting as the delivery mechanism, as surely as the rocket carries its payload, or the post conveys the letter bomb.

But in fact that's not why I haven't seen this video and I won't read the words. I know what they say. And I would rather expend any personal efforts I can on trying to engage with someone who has the capacity to engage with me. The men of 7/7 had gone so far beyond that point as to make them useless as a way to take the debate forward.

July 11, 2006 1:04 am  

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